Saturday, July 22, 2017

Battle Sister Reinforcement

I've been slowly working on another full squad of Battle Sisters (more than what I would ever need for Shadow War, the plan is to get a force going for 40K 8th) and I decided to finish one ahead of the group to replace a model I'd been using in my Kill Team.

I've lost the last two games, but I haven't suffered any deaths and have killed about five of my opponent's orks. After the last game I added a tenth member which is the maximums squad size. I also added some melta-bombs to one sister, and rather than glue one to a miniature I painted up the ammo servitor from the Space Marine devastators kit. I used a smaller 20mm base for the creepy lil' guy.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Sororitas Kill Team - The Creature

The Sororitas moved slowly through the gloom. They had received a garbled vox transmission indicating a supply box marked with foul xenos sigils lay abandoned in this section of the promethium sprawl. Sister Catherine gripped her Chaplet-Ecclesiasticus. Not out of fear... not at all. She found herself consumed by thoughts of hatred- toward a specific ork raider. She could picture the brute, clad in heavy armor and brandishing two large axes. She wanted nothing more than to put an end to the loathsome greenskin... it had become the focus and sum total of all her hatred for the entire orkish race. Catherine recognized that her thoughts were misdirected, and prayed to the Emperor in order to clear her mind.

"There are orks ahead. Spread out, pattern Kestrel. Ave Imperator." Sister Superior Constance headed to the extreme right flank, dual pistols drawn and ready.

Catherine found herself peering into the gloom, hoping fervently that her nemesis was among the band. She was not let down.

A rain of bullets erupted from the darkness, a mix of bright flashes, the whine of bullets careening off industrial architecture, and the smell of sulphur. The sisters responded immediately with their own fusillade of well directed fire.

Catherine saw her quarry- the brutish double axes and metal jaw clearly identifying it. She moved forward, taking an advance position ahead of her squad mate in contradiction to the outlined kestrel pattern. Gunfire echoed throughout the sprawl.

Sister Loretta fired at an ork in the distance that was lugging a devastating heavy machine gun. He dropped, wounded, and crawled to cover.

"What the...?" Loretta exclaimed. A bizarre creature the likes of which she had never seen pounced out of the darkness onto the downed ork, who fought like a wounded predator. Then it was gone. The ork had survived, somehow...

Double axe rushed forward and was cut down by Sister Barbara's storm bolter, or perhaps it was Louise. Yet, he persisted.

Catherine rushed out of cover despite all risk. She felt compelled. Fully in the open, she stood over the fallen ork and put three bolt pistol rounds into the space between the viscous metal jaw and the helmet bowl.

Even then, her bloodlust was not sated, and she ran as fast as she could toward the other ork writhing in agony in the distance.

Heavy gunfire continued as each squad maneuvered to cover the approaches to the xenos cache.

Catherine lunged toward the second ork, hoping to finish him off before he recovered. She fired the rest of her magazine until he stopped moving. Then, the hidden creature struck. Catherine was knocked down by a vision of unholiness, a mutant defying description...  a blasphemous blend of maggot and spider, yet standing upright. Somehow, she managed to fire her bolter into the midsection of the hideous thing and it disappeard, again. The sudden advent of the terrible vision and it's equally quick vanishing snapped Catherine from her madness. She was so far ahead of her squad...

Constance held the right flank. Three orks were careening down the gantry toward her. Even odds she thought, as she fired plasma and bolt rounds at them, forcing them into cover. Constance glanced over her shoulder just in time to avoid a sweeping scythe of reddish chitin, attached to the body of something man sized- a mix between the crustaceans of Lemnos III and a mantis. Dropping low to avoid the orks' line of sight, she kicked the beast squard between it's beady eyes and knocked it off the edge of the platform. Used to easier fare, the creature slunk off into the darkness.

The sounds of gunfire dissipated and the jeering howls of the orks grew more distant as they carried away their prize- a case with Tau writings. Who knew what lie within? Fortunately one of their number was left behind, dead, along with his two axes...

"Sister, you placed our squad in danger and let your rage consume you. Your headlong rush into close quarters with the orks is more befitting the more bloodthirty of the Astartes. We are lucky to have sustained no lasting injury." 

"Sister Superior Constance, please allow me to take the vows of repentance, for I have failed you, my sisters, and the Emperor." Catherine bowed her head.

"Denied. Our task is not one that can afford such a choice, despite your willingness. No, let your rage be calmed, and meditate upon the teachings of Confessor Eustace."

Catherine nodded, silently.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dark Eldar Arena of Blood 3D Game Board

This post details the construction of the 3D Dark Eldar Arena of Blood board I built. Arena of Blood is a mini-game found in White Dwarf #229 (1999) which introduced simple rules for Dark Eldar Wych gladiator fights. I really enjoy building 3D game boards and I've wanted to make one for this game for many years. I finally started it around January 2017 and just finished the last figures for it. All that remains is to finish the sheets for the characters. 


The original game was played on a fold out map (included in the magazine) that had all the stats and specific rules for the characters. GW even incuded stand up card markers for the Wyches, although I assume they wanted us to buy the actual miniatures :)

The original map has murder stakes scattered throughout, plus the players add additional ones. I didn't want mine to be permanently attached, with the idea that there may be times we don't use them, or have monsters that need more space. 

I started off the project by casting hexes with 'Merlin's Magic' plaster, using a silicone mold I bought from Keebler Studios (now out of business). I had two issues with the mold- first off, the sides were not perfect 90 degrees from the base so they didn't nestle up precisely. I had to fill in the gaps later with joint compound. Second, the mold tore about half way through casting and I was able to limp it through. I'd never had a silicone mold tear, so I'm assuming Keebler used different rubber than Hirst Arts.

After casting I hand painted them all to look like marble, which actually wasn't as time consuming or tedious as it sounds. The hexes with a border have a washer imbedded in the cast (the murder stakes have a magnet in the bottom) and serve to break up the monotony a bit.

I designed the wall and blade shapes in Adobe Illustrator, tracing the edge of a Dark Eldar sword as a starting point. The plan was to send this file to a laser cutter. The blades are acrylic and the wall decor is thick card.

These quantities and sizes ended up being slightly wrong by the way. Luckily my laser cutting acquaintance is a nice guy and put up with me submitting three orders :)



 Here you can see the structure coming together, using Gatorfoam and foamcore.


Painting blades. I planned to go with a dark gunmetal to contrast with the walls and floor, but I wasn't sure about that and asked some people for advice. Some friends convinced me to go with gold, which is more opulent and decadent-looking. I think that was a great suggestion. 


'Murder stakes' are cast resin with laser cut acrylic blades. I designed the shape in TinkerCad, a free 3D modeling program that is super easy to use. I had the shape 3D printed using Shapeways, after which I made a simple gravity drop silicone mold and cast them in resin. The six slots were just a little too narrow and the biggest pain of the entire build was having to go back through and sand them all a little wider so the acrylic blades would fit...

The last step was filling gaps in the assembled walls with Bondo, sanding the heck out of the top edge surface, and painting it black.


I am close to finishing the new character cards (which were originally on the printed map) and hope to get some games in soon :)

Lead Painter's League 11 - Round 7 - Dark Eldar Arena of Blood

Apologies for taking so long to post my LPL 11 Round 7 entry. I was waiting until I had all the figures for the Arena of Blood game painted up (there were still three to complete after the initial photo). Sadly, this entry got absolutely slaughtered in the competition. I had a feeling I would lose anyway but not that badly ;)

Arena of Blood is a mini-game found in White Dwarf #229 (1999) which introduced simple rules for Dark Eldar gladiator fights. I was a big fan of the Dark Eldar in 3rd edition and had quite a large army at the time. I have had a desire to build a 3D version ever since. I finally started it around January 2017! I will put the WIP and arena build pictures in another post, as it could get lengthy.

The original game was played on a fold out map (included in the magazine) that had all the stats and specific rules for the characters. GW even included stand up card markers for the Wyches! Players place 'murder stakes' around the arena and then chaos ensues.

I decided to go with the newer Dark Eldar sculpts because they're so much better looking than the 3rd edition versions.


 Splinter Pistol and Knife.

Hydra Gauntlets (Hydra Knives in the old days)


  The Hellion is a  simple kitbash using a 3rd edition head that I believe is from the old Raider kit.

The Beastmaster is a more involved conversion, because the Beastmaster in Arena of Blood is on foot instead of riding a skyboard. The legs are from a plastic Wych, the torso and upper right arm are from a Warlord Games Zulu, the head is from a metal beastmaster, and the right hand was originally from a Heroclix figure. After I had him painted I realized that in Arena of Blood he has a splinter pistol, so I swapped out the hand. The skin wrap, backpack thing, and tubing are ProCreate (sort of like Greenstuff).

The Khymera is metal and I was not sure how basing him on the clear acrylic would work. I ended up leaving a post on the foot that is inserted into a hole I drilled into the base. Luckily it doesn't stand out.

I need to come up with stats for this guy (armed with dual razorflails) as this weapon combo didn't exist in 1999.

I wanted a shorter sword than the regular DE power sword for the Razorsnare/Falchion Wych- which no longer exists in 40K. I think the sword is from the Frostgrave Cultists set. Tough looking gal, no?

That completes a full set of Wyches for the game. I have more built because I want a male and female for each type, and from different Wych Cults. These ones are in the scheme of the 'Seventh Woe'.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Adepta Sororitas Additions

I've been continuing to play Shadow War: Armageddon about once a week. After match three one of my sisters (the storm bolter, who is a heavy hitter) was captured by some filthy orks. I was worried that I might not have the melee strength the take down the ork sentries, so I decided to spend a promethium cache to get a Celestian for a game. This meant a conversion was in order. I wanted to update my Superior as well- she acquired the Gunfighter advance which meant she can dual wield pistols! I also decided to convert a simulacrum carrier, rather than use a stock Imagifier.

After doing the conversion work it meant I had to paint the three figures in a day to be ready for the match :)

 The Imagifier is an old banner bearer figure from the 90s. I cut off her banner pole and added a conversion bit from Trolls Under the Bridge. I really love the idea of a reliquary box- it has a supply hose snaking up to the box which I imagine to power a stasis chamber to protect the sacred object within. As I was getting ready to paint it I noticed that there was a socket in the top (not sure how I missed it) so I added a fleur-de-lis finial, also from Trolls.

 This conversion was a little more difficult because I started with a Seraphim Superior. After repositioning the legs and doing some greenstuff work to pull off the leg rotation, I swapped out the melee weapon she was pointing with for a marine plasma pistol. I also made a sheathed sword (bound in the finest deviant hide) because I had upgraded to a power sword. Looks like I missed painting the gem on the hilt... I was in a hurry :)

 Sister Superior Angelica was the star of the raid, taking down two ork sentries in melee without raising the alarm. The Celestian climbed up to the precarious perch where the captive was held and cut her free. I was able to sneak around the other two sentries. After the match Angelica picked up the Crack Shot skill.

The Celestian is a conversion as well. I already had a helmeted sister missing the front of her flamer I picked up second hand, so she would be a good start for switching to a melta gun. Cutting up these chunky old metal miniatures sucks! After a bit of work with a jeweler's saw and a Dremel I was able to fit a melta gun in place and tie it all together with greenstuff. The halo is another bit from Trolls Under the Bridge, and the small fleur on the helmet is a small component I had 3D printed that I cast in resin. The plan is to replicate this look for a full squad of celestians some day.

The kill team is up to eight now, and is kitted out with bolt pistols and frag grenades with a sprinkling of red-dot sights and other goodies. After next game I should be able to add another sister.

Cleanse and Purify!!!

EDIT: I received a question on a Facebook group asking "Which Order is this?"

I'm not actually sure- there is an army painted with this scheme in the Witch Hunters Codex but I don't believe it labels them. I thought they were a new version of the 'Sacred Rose' order (usually with a black robe), but I've never been sure.

I did find these images, from the Forces of the Inquisition Collector's Guide:

The left one appears to be from the studio army and is labeled "Silver Shroud".

The right is a showcase army with the scheme, and a Sacred Rose symbol on the back Exorcist.

Links to conversion bits:

 Trolls Under the Bridge Webstore

Trolls Under the Bridge eBay Store